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Courting Disaster In Afghanistan


Valin

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courting-disaster-afghanistan_620862.htmlWeekly Standard:

 

FREDERICK W. KAGAN and KIMBERLY KAGAN

Feb 1, 2012

 

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced a new timeline for American combat operations in Afghanistan—or did he? He said, “Hopefully, by mid- to the latter part of 2013, we’ll be able to make, you know, to make a transition from a combat role to a training advice, and assist role…” Pressed once, he added, “The hope was, that hopefully, we could reach a point in the latter part of 2013 that we could make the same kind of transition we made in Iraq, from a combat role to a train-and-assist role.” Pressed again about whether this timeline was a new departure, he answered, “No, not really,” repeating that such a transition was envisioned at the 2010 Lisbon Conference and that “we always looked at, you know, what exactly…are the pieces we would have to have in place in order to be able to make that transition.” Let us hope, hopefully, that this comment was a malapropism rather than the leaking of a new strategy, because, if it is a new strategy, it’s a bad one.

 

Everything Secretary Panetta said about the transition approach envisioned at Lisbon is true—that process, excessively binding and bureaucratic in our opinion, does foresee the gradual and conditions-based transition of the task of securing all of Afghanistan to the Afghan security forces. At some point—not specified at Lisbon or in any public statement or document before this one—the mission of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), would change from defeating the insurgency alongside the Afghans to assisting the Afghans in securing their own state. Could that point come in late 2013? Perhaps. But there is no way to be sure now. Announcing it as a fixed timeline now, therefore, would be not only foolish but irresponsible

 

(Snip)

 

The reality is that there are two hard fighting seasons’ worth of combat in Eastern Afghanistan before we can transition the problem to the Afghans and focus on assisting them. And it will take all of the 68,000 U.S. troops that will remain at the end of this year to do it. The fight is worth it—eliminating the safe havens of groups that would give sanctuary to al Qaeda was what we came to Afghanistan to do in the first place. And it is achievable, even if the constraints President Obama has placed on our troops by imposing arbitrary and unjustifiable force caps on them make it much more difficult, dangerous, and protracted than it need be.

 

(Snip)

 

Not that Obama gives a damn about this.

 


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Some news is billing this as a hard timeline, others are saying it is more a "goal", if things work out.

 

Ah! Thanks. The light bulb goes on...ok it's a dim one I know, but it's what I've got to work with.

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Some news is billing this as a hard timeline, others are saying it is more a "goal", if things work out.

 

Given who is Commander In Chief and his well know views on war, I'm going with, it's a hard timeline.

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